2019 American Business in China White Paper

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AmCham China's 2019 American Business in China White Paper provides:

  • A comprehensive list of specific recommendations provided for both the US and Chinese governments
  • 2019 policy priorities announced for first time

This week saw the release of the 21st edition of our American Business in China White Paper, which sets forth a significant number of policy recommendations – both cross-sector and industry-specific – for the US and Chinese governments. Additionally, the White Paper, which was unveiled in conjunction with the annual Government Affairs Conference, outlines AmCham China’s three main policy advocacy priorities for 2019, which underlie these more specific recommendations.

Crucially, our member companies continue to face an uncertain operating environment in China, as the US-China trade negotiations continue, other tensions in the bilateral relationship intensify, and many of our longstanding concerns about the business environment in China remain unaddressed. At the same time, our members maintain that healthy, balanced, and sustainable economic relations between our two countries are vitally important for the well-being of both countries – and must be managed wisely and skillfully by our two governments.

“Many of our members have been negatively impacted by – and are not necessarily supportive of – the use of tariffs as a tool in the current US-China trade negotiations,” said Tim Stratford (pictured above), the Chairman of AmCham China. “At the same time, we appreciate that our two governments are now working energetically to address problems that have remained outstanding for many years. We believe that any true resolution of the current dispute requires addressing the structural issues discussed across these many pages that have long hindered importation of US goods and services and operations of US businesses in China.”

Underlying the recommendations included in this White Paper are three common themes that provide the framework for AmCham China’s advocacy during the current year. These “2019 Policy Priorities” include:

1. Restoring Trust through Concrete Actions Leading to Greater Transparency, Predictability, and Evenhandedness in Regulatory Processes.

Inconsistent or unclear regulations and uneven enforcement remain the number one challenge for AmCham China members. The stability and predictability provided by a transparent and evenhanded regulatory environment will be important for the continued growth of the Chinese economy – boosting the confidence of both domestic and foreign investors that their businesses will enjoy the impartial protection of law, and also aiding the government in its fight against corruption. At present, the gap between policy as stated and as enforced remains significant.

2. Promoting Development through Policies of National Treatment and Competitive Neutrality.

Policies that emphasize national treatment benefit the entire economy – not just foreign enterprises. We believe that government policy should place all parties in China – including both domestic and international firms and public and private companies – on an even, competitive footing. Enacting a policy of “competitive neutrality” is especially important given the increasing scrutiny facing the US-China commercial relationship and the questions being raised internationally about the greater market access enjoyed by Chinese companies overseas compared to the access Foreign-Invested Enterprises (FIEs) have in China.

3. Stimulating Innovation through Policies that Promote Global Cooperation and Intellectual Property Protection.

Innovation has ripple effects that bring broad benefits to the economies of both China and the US. AmCham China strongly believes that to realize its innovation goals, China should open its digital as well as its physical doors to allow information to flow more freely across borders. Experience shows that creativity is the product of diverse ideas blended in an environment where technology-neutral standards are set, based on broad participation and protection of intellectual property.

Download the 2019 American Business in China White Paper (free for members).

We hope that this year’s White Paper will serve as a constructive tool for both the Chinese government and US administration as they work to recalibrate the bilateral relationship to the benefit of both countries.